November 28, 2011

USA: Obesity is increasing throughout the world

CAMBRIDGE, England / ResearchSEA / Novermber 24, 2011

Nature Reviews Cancer link with obesity

Obesity is increasing throughout the world and many studies have shown that this increase is accompanied by an increased risk of developing various types of cancer.

In an Opinion article in the December 2011 issue of Nature Reviews Cancer, Bruce Spiegelman and colleagues discuss the possible mechanisms underlying this worrying connection and the possibilities for therapeutic intervention.

Obesity causes many systemic alterations in the human body and it is widely believed that these changes might promote many types of cancer. For example, obesity modifies inflammation pathways and causes increased levels of adipokines – hormones produced by adipose tissue – and lipids, such as cholesterol, in the blood. 

Additionally, increased levels of insulin, which occurs in type 2 diabetes – another obesity-associated disease – may also promote tumour growth. 

The authors critically assess the impact of these changes on tumour initiation and growth and discuss the important issues that are yet to be resolved that might aid in preventing or treating obesity-linked cancers.

Author contact:
Bruce M. Spiegelman (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
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